Why Working Independently Fosters Creativity
At BrightGauge, we are proponents of fostering a team spirit. We don’t work in silos, we make sure everyone has visibility to all company projects, and we’re constantly hanging out together, both in and out of work.
However, we’re also strongly encouraged to work independently.
It may seem counterintuitive, but it is wholly possible to be both team-driven and an independent worker, and we’ve found that this approach results in highly creative thinking.
We are Managers of One
Have you been introduced to the concept of a manager of one? In the simplest of terms, it’s basically somebody who doesn’t need to be told what to do.
Think of a typical manager at any workplace: they are expected to set the tone for their team, come up with goals, execute and analyze them, and work productively without a lot of direction from the executive level.
A manager of one is expected to work the same way, but for themselves. This is great for so many reasons.
Being a leader for yourself
First, when you’re hired as a manager of one, you understand that a lot of trust has been placed in your abilities and capacity to get things done. This is an awesome vote of confidence that feels like years of hard work paying off. However, one must not forget that this comes with a big responsibility - you’ve got to live up to expectations. At BrightGauge, we simply see it as motivation!
Secondly, you can kiss micromanaging goodbye. Nobody likes to work with someone standing over their shoulder, watching their every move, making sure it’s done to their liking. No thank you! As a manager of one, no one is breathing down your neck. You know what you’ve got on your plate and you’re given the autonomy to get it done in the time and manner you see fit (within reason, obviously).
One of my favorite aspects of being a manager of one is that possibilities seem endless. Take 30 seconds to think about five things you look for in a new job. Was ‘room for growth’ on your list? It’s always on mine. As a manager of one, you can carve out your own path and show your worth in so many ways. And since you don’t have somebody dictating your every move, you really have the freedom to get creative and control what your role looks like and what it will evolve into.
Which brings us to our next point.
Our creativity bells are ringing loudly
When you are given the space to be independent, introspective, and self-reliant, your mind can go to wondrous places. Working alone frees up space in the mind and allows for the creation of new thoughts, ideas, and processes.
Many innovators and leaders throughout history have spoken of the importance of being alone. Pablo Picasso said, “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.” Inspirational inventor Nikolas Tesla said:
“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.”
The impact of creativity on BrightGauge Software
BrightGauge is a technology company. You might think, “what does technology have to do with creativity?”. Well, a lot, in fact. Creativity isn’t reserved solely for artists, writers, poets, and filmmakers.
If you think about BrightGauge on a deeper level, we’re more than just technology creators. We’re in the business of helping people live better and easier lives. Putting it in that context, it’s clear that creative thinking is needed to build a great product, with intuitive features, a smart design, a robust support team to back it up, proactive marketers to get the word out, and so on.
Some of our best ideas - which have resulted in improved product features like moveable gauge layers - have come out of independent, focused deep work sessions: periods of time where we’re each able to work without interruptions, on our own, with the goal of achieving high-quality work.
Without pressure from the top and by eliminating unnecessary distractions, we’re able to get to the deeper level of thinking we all strive for.
Where do teamwork and independence intersect?
While a lot of our work, thinking, and ideating is done alone, no level of output would be possible without the entire team coming together.
You may already know that we use Basecamp on a daily basis to manage our projects and keep our weeks organized. When somebody lands on an idea they’d like to explore further, the first step is to pitch it to the entire company (or to specific team members, if desired) on Basecamp. That way, everyone can voice their approvals, concerns, ideas to make the concept even stronger, etc. No project moves forward without buy-in from the team.
We’ve found what works for us and it’s inspiring to thrive within such a creative environment. We’ll never stop coming up with ways to improve - and it’s highly possible a golden idea will strike when one of us is in our own little focused bubble.
You may like our management style, but it’s always good to hear from others. Check out our free webinar, ‘In Service to The Team’, to listen in as Todd Kane of Evolved Management Consulting talks about his approach to management.
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